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    Entries in benefits (19)

    Thursday
    Mar162017

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 278 - The ACA in 2017: What HR and Benefits Leaders Need to Know

    HR Happy Hour 278 - The ACA in 2017: What HR and Benefits Leaders Need to Know

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guests: Shan Fowler, Benefitfocus, Chris Condeluci, CC Law & Policy

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, recorded live at Benefitfocus One Place 2017 Conference, Steve Boese is joined by Shan Fowler of  Benefitfocus and Chris Condeluci of CC Law & Policy to talk repeal, replace, reconciliation, and all things ACA in 2017.

    Any HR and Benefits leader who is following the news surrounding the potential repeal and replacement of the ACA is no doubt facing questions and concerns about what is really happening in Washington, what these potential changes mean for employers, and how best to keep informed and prepared for the future of the ACA and whatever may come next.

    Chris and Shan talked about what is most likely to happen with the current legislation under consideration, a timeline of what seems likely to occur in the next several weeks, and what might happen in the balance of 2017.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or using the widget player below (Email and RSS subscribers click through)

    This is an important, fast-moving, complex, and fascinating topic, and one that all HR and Benefits leaders need to have top of mind as events unfold. Listen to the show to learn more about what is happening, and how you can stay ready for what might be coming soon.

    And Steve gives a solid 'Schoolhouse Rock' reset along the way.Thanks to Shan and Chris as well as everyone on the Benefitfocus team for hosting this special episode of the HR Happy Hour Show.

    Learn more at www.benefitfocus.com.

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Monday
    Feb272017

    One type of consumer debt is at a record high, and it could impact your Employee Benefits strategy

    Quick shot for a busy, 'Did I just read the wrong Best Picture winner?' Monday.

    From our pals at Bloomberg, reporting on the recently released Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit out of the Federal Reserve of New York.

    Total U.S. student debt hit a record $1.31 trillion last year, the 18th consecutive year Americans' education debt rose, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    Outstanding loans taken out for higher education have doubled since 2009, data show. No other form of household debt has increased by as much since then. In fact, of the six major categories of consumer debt tracked by the New York Fed, only student loans and auto debt have increased since year-end 2008 (total auto loans are up 46 percent). Total household debt has fallen by 1 percent

    There are some more interesting nuggets on what is happening with student debt in the New York Fed report, including the fact that among the five major types of household debt (mortgage, home equity, student, auto, and credit card), student loan debt has the highest percentage (11.2%) classified as 'seriously delinquent', i.e. over 90 days late.

    Finally, this chart from the Bloomberg piece illustrates how much faster student debt has risen compared to the other forms of household debt since 2008:

    Add all of this up and it points to an environment where student loan debt loads are increasing, former students are having a tougher time keeping current on repayments, and many if not most of your newest employees are walking into their brand new jobs in a state of financial difficulty. 

    A number of organizations have responded to these circumstances by offering student loan repayment assistance or contributions as a part of their benefits offerings. According to Time.com, Chegg, Penguin Random House, and Aetna are among the companies that have implemented schemes that contribute to employee's student loan repayments. And a number of technology/services offerings from providers like Gradifi, Student Loan Genius, Tuition.io, and SoFi are marketing these programs and schemes to employers.

    It seems pretty likely that the student loan debt crisis is not going away any time soon, (has any college or university ever cut tuition prices?), and that candidates increasingly burdened by debt will begin to actively seek employment opportunities that both recognize and can offer assistance to them in this area. 

    Sure, offering student loan payment assistance as a new benefit will come off as just a 'cost', at least in the sort term. But looking at it from a wider angle, it could be an important differentiator in candidate attraction and employee retention. 

    And it could be that along with the other early adopter companies mentioned above, you can finally get in front of a trend for once, instead of having to chase it three years from now.

    Happy Monday - have a great week!

    Thursday
    Dec082016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 269 - Health and Benefits Trends for 2017

    HR Happy Hour 269 - Health and Benefits Trends for 2017

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Guest: Jonathan Rende, Chief Research & Development Officer, Castlight Health

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane are joined by Jonathan Rende, Chief Research & Development Officer at Castlight Health, a leading provider of benefits technology solutions to talk about important benefits issues, trends, and opportunities for 2017. With inevitable but hard to predict change facing HR and benefits leaders with the ACA regulations, the potential for different regulations emerging with a new administration, and the continuing need to provide effective, transparent, and engaging benefits programs - 2017 is shaping up to be a challenging year for HR and benefits leaders.

    Jonathan also shared his insights on the importance of guidance, i.e., technology and programs to help employees make better decisions about their benefits elections. New approaches, many of them borrowed from the consumer marketing and commerce space are being applied to employer benefits for the first time, and the results for employees are positive and exciting. Almost 3/4 of employees don't fully understand their benefits, and in 2017 HR and Benefits leaders are challenged to bridge this understanding gap for their workforces, and provider better decision support, content, and access to their benefits programs and offerings. 

    We also had an important Orlando Magic update, and Steve admitted to liking Benefits almost as much as he likes basketball.

    You can listen to the show here, or using the widget player below (Email and RSS subscribers need to click through)

     

    This was a fun and interesting show, thanks to Jonathan and the folks at Castlight Health.

    And thanks to our sponsor Virgin Pulse - learn more about them at www.virginpulse.com.

    Finally, remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Thursday
    Mar312016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 242 - Big Ideas for Employee Benefits in 2016

    HR Happy Hour 242 - Big Ideas for Employee Benefits in 2016

    Recorded Wednesday March 30, 2016 at the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Nate Randall, President and Founder, Ursa Major Consulting

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show Steve sat down at the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference with Nate Randall, President & Founder at Ursa Major Consulting to talk about three big ideas and trends in employee benefits that Nate is seeing as he works with organizations around the country. 

    Nate shared some ideas around managing benefits in a global and distributed environment, and the challenges that can present. We also talked a little about use of Private Exchanges for employee benefit coverage, and some considerations that employers should take into account when evaluating this model. Finally, we spent some time discussing the new trend of employers offering Financial Wellness programs for their employees, and some important factors employers need to consider before deploying these kind of programs.

    Nate also shared some insights from one of his former roles at Tesla Motors, and the challenges they faced in scaling up the organization from under 1,000 employees to over 13,000 in a very short time.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or using the widget player below:

    This was an interesting and informative show with one the the industry's leading experts and thinkers on employee benefits - we hope you will check it out.

    Reminder - you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and all the podcast player apps for iOS and Android - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Wednesday
    Mar302016

    #BenefitsConf Opening Message: Meet people where they are, not where you want them to be

    I am out at the 4th Annual Health & Benefits Leadership Conference for the next few days and will (if plans don't get derailed because, well, Vegas), be sharing some ideas and highlights from the event, including at least one HR Happy Hour Show from the event.

    The opening keynote at the show was given by Alexandra Drane, Co-Founder of Eliza Corp and was titled Mentioning the Unmentionables: Is 'Life' the Missing Link?', an examination of where health and wellness approaches have possibly been misaligned with the needs, desires, and actual, practical situations and lives of the people the healthcare industry is trying to serve.

    Let's unpack that a little bit by referring to a chart we have all seen a thousand times, Maslow's hierarchy, and one that Ms. Drane referred to several times during her talk. Take a look at my (slightly out of focus) pic of the chart below, and then some FREE comments from me on the key points of the talk after that. Note: the person on the lower right of the pic is an artist doing a sketch of the talk in real time - really pretty cool!

    Alexandra's primary message on where health and wellness initiatives have gone wrong is in that so many of the efforts and outreach have been focused on individual and employee behavior modification that impact and reside at the very peak of the self-actualization pyramid - ignoring the fact that many, if not most people are wrestling with life issues much further down.

    We (or our employers), bug people to exercise more frequently, to eat healthier, to make sure they are up to date on all preventive medical screenings, etc., but often do not even attempt to address the myriad of issues that would prevent people from even thinking about doing more exercise or the other things that happy, secure people can spend time on.

    These are very basic, and fundamental issues and challenges like elder or child care, financial challenges and troubles, divorce, lack of intimacy, or even something as elementary as loneliness or disconnection from people.

    These issues, she argued, are the more important drivers that lead towards negative health outcomes that manifest in 'real' diseases like diabetes, alcoholism, heart disease, hypertension, and many more. And trying to motivate people into behavior changes that might lead to say a reduced risk of diabetes will not be effective if they are completely stressed out with family or personal crises that dominate their ability to cope.

     

    Until we are able to meet people where they are, many if not most of them dealing with tremendous pressures, stress, and personal challenges in their real lives, will we be able to better provide tools, resources, support, and empathy needed to try and move them to where we want (and hope) they can be - as people who can actually take the time to jog for 45 minutes a day, and spend an extra hour at home each night preparing healthy meals.

    It was a really important message I think, and one we'd all be wise to remember.

    People are really complex. Life can really suck sometimes. And the combination of the two makes trying to drive behavior change much, much more than just suggesting they choose a salad instead of a Big Mac.

    Thanks to Alexandra Drane for such an interesting and compelling talk this morning.